The Jakarta Post
Taste in rock: With the new album’s mix of aggression, immediate riffs and chantable refrains, Godplant is likely to win a solid heavy metal fanbase. (Godplant/File)
Released through the increasingly popular independent label Lawless Records, Godplant’s debut, Turbulensi, is a mix of aggression, immediate riffs, and chantable refrains — which it shares with the label’s flagship band, Seringai — will likely bring the band a solid heavy metal fanbase.
The members of Godplant met in college, where they were all members of a school organization that focused on sociopolitical issues.
Forming a bond that went beyond friendship and into shared political consciousness, the band members – vocalist Edo “Litong” Raditya, guitar player Riza “Oyoy” Prawiro, bassist Bahrul Ulum and drummer Gilang “Gicing” Firdauzi — decided to make music together to combine their passion for Western rock/ metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Discharge, Eyehategod, Cavity and Weedeater, with lyrical themes that hit close to home.
The band picked Turbulensi as its album title because it represented the sense of turbulence that they felt this country was going through.
“It’s that turbulence, that shock, that acts as a reminder of the problems Indonesia is going through — everything from issues with the people to issues with the government, the difference of opinions between the majority and minorities, and so many political issues that have driven the country apart,” says vocalist Litong.
The biggest issue the band wanted to address was how the state ideology Pancasila seemed further and further away as something Indonesians were basing their morality and ethics on.
“But that is all gone, from the sense of humanity to justice, all because of [people’s] thirst for richness — to everything it affects, like the natural habitat and human resources. They don’t realize how their own actions will be the end of them.” Litong says.
Meet the band: Sludge-metal band Godplant has entitled its debut album Turbulensi (turbulence) because it represents the sense of turbulence that its members feel the country is going through. (Godplant/File)
While the band members may share sociopolitical views, their taste in rock finds them diverging a little more. Litong is into the darker spectrum of metal and likes Black Metal and “depressive” rock, Bahrul enjoys punk and grunge music, Gicing likes modern rock with textural flourishes (such as Deftones), and Oyoy enjoys the growling rock of the Death Metal genre.
As such, Godplant’s music combines all these elements — from Litong’s Black Metal-inspired screeching vocals, the grungy stoner-rock fuzz of the guitars, to the punkish looseness of the rhythms.
Unlike many bands, Godplant has no qualms about placing itself in one genre, which in this case is “sludge” — although its songs are decidedly less “sludgly”, meaning slow-lurching and drowned in distortion, than the usual sludge bands.
Being part of a recognized rock label such as Lawless also comes with its benefits.
“We liked them because each of their releases have their own identity,” explains Bahrul. “So although the kind of music — sludge metal — we play is still kind of rare here, we knew that the label would be receptive to it. So we sent in our demo and lo and behold they were down with working with us.”
The band also knows that it would have the Lawless audience on its side, and that just happens to be the kind of music fans that would likely be into the kind of music Godplant makes.
The band members are immensely proud of their debut album, with each of them having a favorite track off of the record. Litong likes the driving “Tula”, for its groove and its lyrical content, inspired by a friend who was framed by another close friend, and ended up in jail. “That’s an emotional song for me.”
Gicing and Bahrul both enjoy “Radikal” for its “cool transitions” and “opening punk riff”.
Oyoy, meanwhile, point to the title track.
“It represents our shared mindset and our whole thinking and feeling towards these 12 songs. It was a challenging song to make; spending one whole night replaying parts and the noises and voice-overs that would go into the song.”
For Oyoy, the song is the work of Godplant as a true team.
“That song for me, contextually and content-wise, and production-wise, is a good representation of the whole album.”
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